Mass Case Of Amnesia

Mass Case Of Amnesia

A Story by Alexzandria R.

A boy recalls the events of the night everyone--family, friends, neighbors, the school--forgot him and he was no one.

I spent tonight watching the house as I do every night. 505 Oleander Street. The outside looked as it always had. Yellow paint and green shutters, five windows on the front of the house and one on the front door. The only difference was that the crack in the upstairs window had been miraculously repaired. After a neighbor called the police, who then demanded that I leave the premises, I returned to my shelter. A simple shelter made out of sticks, mud, and ferns deep in the woods near the house. I suppose I could have gone to a homeless shelter or something like that, or gone to another town to start a new life after what happened, but I didn’t feel that I could trust anyone anymore. And then there was the hope, the pathetic false hope, that someday my life would return to the way it was. So, I remained in the wilderness and returned to the house every night or two, hoping that someday things would return to normal. Desperately hoping to see the crack in the upstairs window which would have proven everything.
Once I returned to the shelter, I dropped a small pile of sticks and brush into the center of the tiny circle of stones I’d built and lit it with a match. The last match in the matchbook I’d found on the ground a few days before. I knew I’d run out eventually but it sure beat searching every inch of the woods for flint, which I would strike on my steel knife, which then may or may not make fire for me that night.
I watched the small fire. Stared at the flames, entranced by the dancing light and thinking about what used to be. In the fire, I thought I saw images. Images of my mother, my father, my sister, my friends. All people that no longer remembered me. I’m not sure how but not a single person in this town remembered me. It was like mass case of amnesia which affected every resident of this place. Every resident but me. Maybe it was an outbreak of a virus or disease that caused memory loss but if it were that, then why would I be immune? Maybe someone came in and erased everyone’s memory while I was out but if that were the case, why didn’t they erase mine as well. Why let me remember? Why let me suffer?
It started about a year and a half ago. My life was that of the average teenage boy. It was the fifteenth day of December. At seven in the morning, my alarm clock screamed that it was time to wake up. I rose from my bed and shivered. It was freezing in my bedroom. There was a horrible draft coming from the crack in the window, which I’d caused some time ago when I was out in the front yard playing with a baseball and threw it a little too far, causing it to collide with the glass. We’d meant to get it fixed but we were a family of procrastinators. I showered, maintained my oral hygiene, dressed myself, fixed my hair a bit, and headed to school. It was my senior year at high school. The year I would graduate. I never even got to see the second semester.
At school, my friends greeted me. Toby and the twins Kathy and Keith, my three best friends, were especially glad to see me. After that, I went to each one of my classes. I was the best student in each one, with the best grades and best behavior. I was voted most likely to succeed.
Once I returned home, I finished my piles of homework from each of my classes and waited for my parents and sister to get home. Mom and Dad worked together at the hospital, both of them doctors, sometimes coming home early and sometimes staying at the hospital until late at night. My sister Astrid was a sophomore at the same high school I went to. She took so long to get home since she rode the bus. I, however, drove to school and back. I was seventeen years old, about to be eighteen in May.
Astrid walked through the front door, finished her homework, and sat down on the couch in front of the television so that she could watch the new episode of American Horror Story, which she’d recorded on the DVR from the night before. Mom and Dad never liked that she watched that show but she didn’t seem to care. She watched recorded episodes while they were working. It was her favorite.
Sometime around eight, our parents returned home from their jobs at the hospital. They walked through the door deeply engaged in conversation about a recent surgery that they had done together. The patient had died and Mom was getting all emotional about it. Dad was in the process of calming her. Mom always did get emotional about her patients, especially if they expired while in her care. She was so overly compassionate and I loved that about my mother.
Sometime later that night, Astrid and I got into an argument. I forget what the argument was even about but it was bad enough that it ended with me storming out of the house to go hang with Toby and the twins. I met with the three of them at the movie theater, our usual hangout, where we wouldn’t even watch the movies unless there was something good out. Usually, we’d just hang around and talk and play the video games. Sometimes Keith would win a stuffed animal from the claw machine and give it to his sister. The twins had always been close. They never argued as Astrid and I did.
Sometime around midnight, I returned home. The door was locked so I got the key from under the doormat and unlocked it. I stepped inside and the whole place was dark. All the lights in the house were off and I figured it was because everyone was asleep. Quietly, I started toward my bedroom, trying not to disturb anyone. The old wooden floor complained loudly under my weight and I cringed. Eventually, I arrived at the stairs and made my way up to the second floor where my room was. Almost there.
Once I was inside my bedroom, I saw that it had been converted into a sewing/storage room for mom. Her sewing machine sat on a table at one side of the room with a basket of fabrics and threads next to it on the floor. On the other side of the room sat boxes of miscellaneous junk. Then, I felt it. Someone was pressing the barrel of a shotgun to my back. I turned to find that it was... my father. He thought that I was an intruder. I spoke to him. I explained that it was only me, his son, expecting him to back away and lower the gun, knowing that I lived there. I was his only son. Mom and Astrid appeared in the doorway behind him. He told me, angrily and impatiently, that he had no son. That he and his wife had a single daughter and that it was in my best interest to get out of his house before he shoots me full of lead.
Scared and confused, I left the house. I could hear Mom behind me whispering to Dad, “Who was that? What was that about? Did you recognize him? Is he someone from the neighborhood?” As I left the house, I looked up at my bedroom window. The crack was not there. The crack in the window that I had caused was not there. It was as if I had never been there and as far as my family was concerned, I hadn’t. As far as my family was concerned, they had no son. I reached the driveway and saw that my car was gone as well and my license had disappeared from my pocket along with my car keys.
After leaving the house, I called each one of my three friends. Not one of them recognized my number on their caller ID. Not one of them recognized my voice or my name. They had no idea who I was and each one of them insisted that I had called the wrong number.
None of the neighbors recognized me, not even the ones who’d been friends of my family for years and who’d watched me grow up. No one in this town knew who I was. There were no friends or neighbors I could stay with. My family was convinced that I was an intruder. So that night, I wandered the streets. As far as everyone was concerned, I wasn’t anyone. A stranger. The next morning, I tried to go to school and they had no record of me.
What was I to do? I couldn’t trust a soul. No one knew me. No one remembered me. I knew and remembered everyone in this town but no one had any recollection of me. I was nobody. Not only a stranger but a crazy stranger who thought he knew everyone. So I hid myself deep in the woods. There I will live until things make sense or until someone recognizes me. Maybe someday I’ll leave town but where will I go? I’ve never been outside this place. I’ll figure it out someday but for now I’m not the good student, the son, the brother, the friend, the neighbor, etc. I’m the crazy stranger man who lives in the woods and occasionally emerges to stare at the same house. 505 Oleander Street.

© 2016 Alexzandria R.

Author's Note

Alexzandria R.
I know I overuse commas so please ignore that. Review based on the overall plot. I encourage constructive criticism but please don't be rude. :)

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Added on July 16, 2016
Last Updated on July 16, 2016